Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
School Choice Questions
What is school choice?
School choice is the term for public education options in the United States. Traditionally, students are assigned to their public school by the location of their family residence. Choice allows families to pick the public school that best fits their child’s need.
Is Oakland a school choice district?
Yes, Oakland families can choose to attend either a traditional public school or a charter public school. Of the 130 public schools in Oakland 86 are district-run schools and 44 are charter public schools. Enroll Oakland Charters (EOC) provides the common application for most of the city’s charter public schools.
Why are there two separate applications to enroll in Oakland public schools?
EnrollOak.org was created last year as part of an effort to unify enrollment across the city. Some believe that a single application for both charter and district public schools would simplify enrollment for all parents, especially those without the time, money, or privilege to navigate multiple public school options with different application deadlines and processes. While interest in unified enrollment for Oakland’s charter and district public school remains, charter school leaders did agree last year to unify enrollment and a single common application was created. Let us know if you think there should be one system; we’ll pass the message along.
When you say Oakland public schools you mean district and charter schools, right?
Yes, the difference is that some are run by the district and others are operated by charters granted either by the district or the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE)
How do I find out what schools are in my neighborhood?
Through Oakland School Finder, accessible at EnrollOak.org, you can use your address to search for schools nearby. When you enter your street address, you will see a list with links to profiles of the charter and district public schools closest to your home. The tool also provides a map showing the locations of all 130 Oakland public schools and with links to school profiles that include details such as programs offered, school type and location, accountability ratings, enrollment data, and contact information.
Once you’ve explored your school options and are ready to complete your application, the SchoolMint system will list your school options based on distance from your home address.
There are so many public schools in Oakland, how do I choose the one that best fits my child and family.
Families experienced with school choice consider many factors when choosing a school that is best for their child(ren). We recommend that you use Oakland School Finder to explore and compare schools, and check out these helpful tips and tool from GreatSchools.org. You will also want to take a tour of the schools that interest you and talk with principals, teachers and parents. If you can’t tour the school, we encourage families to attend a School Options Fair which typically take place in December and January.
What is new in School Finder this year?
New in 2017 will be performance indicators based on the state’s new accountability system. The California School Dashboard evaluates school performance based on multiple new measures including suspension and graduation rates as well as the usual math and English indicators. The data will be part of the school profiles in School Finder tool and will allow families to compare district and charter school for the first time ever
General Application Questions
How do I apply to Oakland charter public schools?
Go to EnrollOak.org and click on the blue EOC Application button. The open enrollment deadline to apply to participating Oakland charter schools is February 16, 2018.
Applications submitted after the February 16 deadline will be considered a Round 2 Application — you will be placed on a waiting list at each of your selected schools, and/or offered enrollment if space becomes available. Round 2 applications will only be available online, and applicants will be placed on waitlists on a first-come, first-served basis.
To increase the chances of getting into a school of your choice, apply to multiple schools. The more the better.
How do I apply to OUSD schools?
The OUSD open enrollment application will be available November 13, 2017 through January 26, 2018. Go to EnrollOak.org and click on the green “District” button.
What are the open enrollment application deadlines for charter and district-run schools?
11:59 pm February 16, 2018 is the application deadline for charter public schools. January 26, 2018 is OUSD ‘s application deadline. Check Important Dates for more information.
Will my charter public school application be given priority if I turn it in on or before the deadline?
No, all EOC applications submitted between November 1, 2017 and February 16, 2018 are treated the same. For each school, if the number of students who wish to attend the school exceeds the school’s capacity, attendance will be determined by a public random drawing.
What happens if I miss the open enrollment deadline(s)?
If you missed the deadline(s) for 2018-19 or are interested in applying for this year, you can still submit an application. Applications will be processed on a first-come first-served basis. Visit our Next Steps page to learn more.
Do charter public schools give preferences to certain applicants?
If a school receives more applicants than available space, schools will hold a random lottery. Schools may use some enrollment priorities to determine applicant preference in their lottery. These priorities are outlined in each school’s admission policy and may vary by school, so it is best to check with the school(s) that you are interested in to learn more.
Is there a paper application for enrolling in Oakland charter public schools? If so, where can I get it?
The open enrollment application will be available at participating schools starting November 13, 2017. Click here for a complete list of participating schools.
Round 2 applications will only be available online at EnrollOak.org.
Filling out an online application is fast, easy, there’s less chance of mistakes and you can access it from your smartphone. Also, the EOC Team can process online applications over the phone at 510-454-9360 and staff at participating schools can assist you in completing it online.
Does it matter when I submit my application?
The open enrollment application deadline for the 2018-19 school year is January 26, 2108 for OUSD schools and February 16, 2018 for most of Oakland charter schools. All applications received by this date will be considered equally in accordance with each school’s enrollment priorities (i.e., there is no advantage to submitting your application early). Schools will run its lotteries in March and you’ll be notified of results between March 5th and 9th. All families will be asked to either accept or decline their enrollment offer(s) no later than March 29th.
Charter applications submitted after the open enrollment deadline will be considered a Round 2 Application — you will be placed on a waiting list at each of your selected schools, and/or offered enrollment if space becomes available. Round 2 applications will only be available online, and applicants will be placed on waitlists on a first-come, first-served basis
What resources are available to help me enroll my child in a charter public school?
- For phone support, call the EOC Team at 510-454-9360
- For in-person support visit any participating charter school.
- To research schools, use The Oakland School Finder an online, interactive tool to help families find and explore schools in their neighborhood and beyond.
- Tour the school(s) that interest you, and talk with the principal and teachers to get a feel for whether its a fit.
- Attend schools’ open houses.
- Attend enrollment fairs, these usually occur in December and January.
EnrollOak.org Online Charter Application Questions
How do I access EnrollOak.org's online charter application?
Go to Enrolloak.org and click on the blue “Charter” button at the top of the page. This will take you to SchoolMint, our online application platform also used by OUSD. If this is your first visit to SchoolMint, you will need to create an account using your email address and/or mobile phone number. Once you have logged on, follow the steps to create a Family Profile and, if you are ready, start applying to schools. You can use your same login information to access your application at any time to add or subtract schools or make other changes to your SchoolMint profile. You also can use your same login to apply to OUSD schools.
Is the application available in multiple languages?
Both the district’s and EOC’s online applications are available in six languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish, Khmer & Vietnamese. EOC paper applications will be available in English and Spanish.
Can someone walk me through how to complete an application online?
Yes, you may visit or call any participating Oakland charter public school, or call the Enroll Oakland Charters team at 510-454-9360 for support. Some schools will have parent stations set up to guide families through the online application process.
I don’t have a computer. Can I use a paper application instead?
During open enrollment, paper applications will be available at participating charter public schools. After the Feb. 16 deadline, applications will only be available online at EnrollOak.org. If you need assistance, the EOC Team can process your application over the phone at 510-454-9360 or you can visit a participating school where staff will guide you through the process.
I don’t have an email address, and only use a landline – can I still apply?
Yes, you can still apply, but we will need an email address or a mobile phone number for communication purposes. You may use a relative’s or friend’s contact information (mobile phone number and/or email address) for login purposes if you don’t have one of your own. Much of the communication that will come from schools regarding the status of your application will be via email or text message, so we want to ensure that you have access to this information.
I am completing a charter school application, what kind of communication can I expect?
You will be contacted by email and/or text message at various times throughout the EOC application process, including when you submit your final application and when/if the schools you choose offer you enrollment or place you on their wait lists. So keep your contact information in SchoolMint up to date.
Applying to Multiple Charter Schools
How many charter schools can I apply to?
As many as you like. In fact, the more schools you apply to the better the chance of your child getting into one of your choice schools.
Does ranking my school choices increase the chance of my child getting in to my top ranked school?
No. Unless you are applying to multiple schools that are managed by a single charter network, your school rankings will have no bearing on admittance to your preferred school(s). The ranking is mostly for information purposes. However, if you are applying to more than one school operated by a Charter Management Organization, the ranking information may be used to help place your student in his or her most-preferred campus.
I submitted an application for only one charter school. Can I go back and add more schools?
Yes, you can add more schools at any time. To be included in lotteries, select additional schools by the February 16, 2018 deadline. We highly recommend that you apply to multiple schools because it increases your chances of getting into a school of your choice. The more schools you choose the better.
If I completed the OUSD application online, do I need to complete the EOC application too?
Only if you want your child to attend a charter public school. The OUSD application is only for public schools run by the district. The charter application is only for participating Oakland charter schools. The choice is yours. Be mindful, however, that, applying to multiple schools – charter and district – improves the chances of getting into a school of your choice.
EOC Application Submission & Next Steps
How will I know if my application is submitted?
You will receive confirmation of your application submission via email and/or text message (depending on the communication preference you indicated in your application). You can also login to your SchoolMint profile at any time to see which schools you’ve applied to. Once you’ve submitted an application, there is no need to resubmit.
Why didn’t I receive confirmation of my application submission?
If you don’t get a submission confirmation by email or text, go back to your online profile. If your application status is “Pending.” click on the “Submit” button on the last page. This will complete you application.
If I turned in my open enrollment paper application (by the Feb. 16 deadline) at a school or the EOC office, how will I know if it's been submitted?
You should receive notification by an email and/or text message, so make sure you enter the correct contact information on your paper application.
Paper applications will not be accepted after the Feb. 16 open enrollment deadline. You can submit a Round 2 application online at EnrollOak.org or by calling 510-454-9360 to submit it over the phone.
I have accepted my seat. What's next?
Registration. The school will give you specific instructions about what is needed to register you child. Be prepared to present certain documents for verification purposes like proof of address, copy of birth certificate, etc.
What documentation will I be asked to provide for registration?
Check with the school. Typically you need to provide proof of address and your child’s birth certificate.
What if I have multiple offers, can I accept more than one?
Each charter school will run their own lottery, which means it is possible to receive multiple offers. To free up seats for other interested families, all families who receive an offer(s) are required to confirm by March 29, 2018. Once you accept an offer, offers from other charter schools will be automatically declined. You can remain on waitlists but may only accept an offer at one charter school.
What does it mean to be waitlisted?
Charter public schools have a set number of spots available in each grade. A school may receive more applicants than spots available, so applicants not offered a spot in the March 2018 lotteries will be placed on waitlists. Those submitting an application after the February 16th, 2018 deadline will also be placed on the waitlist, behind those who completed their applications by the deadline. Schools admit applicants from the waitlist if space becomes available. This can happen at any time throughout the year. You may choose to stay on the waitlist at any or all of the schools to which you’ve been waitlisted. However, schools’ wait lists expire every year so you would need to submit a new application if you are interested in attending in future years. As with the lottery, admission from the waitlist is not guaranteed, so families may apply to additional schools at any time.
How will I know if I have any offers?
Applications received by the February 16, 2018 deadline will be included in charter school lotteries, which will be done the week of March 5-9, 2018. On Monday, March 12, 2018, you should see all your charter school lottery results – Offer or Waitlist – in your SchoolMint student dashboard and at that time you can Accept or Decline an offer. The deadline to Accept or Decline a charter school offer is March 29, 2018. If you do not accept by this date, the charter school lottery offer(s) will expire.
Applications submitted after the February 16 deadline will be considered a Round 2 Application — you will be placed on a waiting list at each of your selected schools, and/or offered enrollment if space becomes available.
I have two children that I’d like to complete applications for. Do I complete separate applications for each?
Yes, you must complete one application per child, but will be able to do so under your one online account. In your account profile, you may add as many children as needed to accurately represent your family and will then be able to select any child and submit an application on his/her behalf. It is important to set-up your family profile this way because some charter schools provide preference for siblings who are applying together.
I submitted an application for Child 1, how do I complete an application for Child 2?
Log in at SchoolMint and click on Family Profile. Then click on the Add Student button on the far right section of the page under Student. This will start your new application for another child.
Technical Support and Updating Applications
I am concerned about entering personal information online. Who else will have access to my data?
SchoolMint is a totally secure website used by families across the country to apply to schools. OUSD uses the very same platform for its online applications for traditional or district-run public schools. You won’t be asked to provide your Social Security number; only your name, relationship to student, address, phone number, email, student’s birth date, etc. This information will only be shared with schools that you apply to as well as Enroll Oakland Charters staff. Schools may use this information to contact you if they find mistakes, like incorrect birth dates or addresses, or if they find multiple profiles for the same students, and that is only to ensure all application information is entered correctly for the school lottery.
How do I reset my password?
If you’ve already created an account, select “Forgot Username?” or “Forgot Password?” if you are unsure of your login credentials.
I entered the wrong birthdate for my child. How do I fix it?
Log in to your SchoolMint account profile, select the child whose information is incorrect, and make the necessary fix. You can update your family’s profile information at anytime.
Do I need to create a new family profile if my contact information changes?
No, you do not need to create a new account. It is, however, very important to keep your SchoolMint account updated with current contact information. To do so, log-into your existing SchoolMint account with your current credentials and you’ll be able to update your contact information.
More Questions About Oakland Charter Public Schools
Please visit Oakland Families for Quality Schools to learn more about Oakland charter public schools, oaklandfamilies.org.